Patterico's Pontifications

3/9/2006

The Aftermath of a Murder Conviction

Filed under: Crime — Patterico @ 7:05 am

The Los Angeles Times reports from Compton: Gang Member Convicted in Slaying of Student:

A gang member was convicted Wednesday of killing a 15-year-old girl as she left Locke High School last March.

Dejuan Hines, 18, who was shooting at someone else, was convicted in Los Angeles County Superior Court of one count of murder and one count of attempted murder in the death of Deliesh Allen-Roberts.

Relatives of the slain girl called the verdict a “bittersweet victory.”

“I’m glad he was found guilty of a crime, but it’s tragic and the circumstances in which it happened, foolish,” said the girl’s aunt, Candacy Roberts. “I’m torn. Here is another young black man with a wasted life.”

I’m fairly certain I saw the aftermath of this verdict yesterday. Yesterday morning a friend told me he was finishing a murder case on the same floor where I have been doing a trial. As far as I know, that’s the only murder case that was currently being tried in the building.

At the end of the court day, I left my court and saw an entire family bawling in the hallway. It was obviously the defendant’s family in my friend’s case, reacting to a guilty verdict. There was a mother, a father, and I think 3 or 4 children, mostly girls. A couple of the children appeared to be under 10. Someone whom I took to be their mother tried to reassure them: “It’s not over!”

It broke my heart.

When criminals commit crimes, they hurt (or, in this case, kill) a victim — but when they get caught, they also hurt their families. I always feel the worst for the victim and the victim’s family — especially in a murder case! — but I also, very often, feel very sad for the defendant’s family.

In cases I try, I am always polite to the defendant’s family, and more often than not, they are polite to me. They understand I’m just doing my job. But you can tell they’re hurting.

I wish criminals would think about their families when deciding whether to commit a crime.

UPDATE: Turns out it was a different friend’s murder case, being tried on the same floor as my case and the other murder case. (I had thought there was only one murder case currently on trial in the building, but there were actually two. The jury is still out on the other one.) Speaking with my friend today, I confirmed that it was indeed the defendant’s family who was crying, and it was the case described above in the L.A. Times story.


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